Archaeological excavations

We realize rescue excavations

In accordance wit Act 49/2002 on the protection of monuments and historic sites and Ordinance 253/2010, by which the Act 49/2002 is administered, we realize all sorts of archaeological excavations.

We also provide rescue archaeological excavations ordered by the relevant Regional Monuments Board. 

  • Do you need a rescue excavation realized? For further information please do not hesitate to contact us:
  • E-mail: karchfphil.uniba.sk
We realize rescue and development-led excavations. E-mail: karch@fphil.uniba.sk

Archaeological excavations for scientific and documentation purposes

Ludanice, part Mýtna Nová Ves, district Topoľčany

Site: Mŕtvice

Excavation leader: Jozef Bátora, Michael Schultz

Year of excavation: 2014

Type of site: burial ground

Dating: Early Bronze Age

Excavation results: Archaeological Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences in Nitra in cooperation with Zentrum Anatomie Georg August Universität Göttingen (Germany) and Department of Archaeology of Faculty of Arts, Comenius University in Bratislava carried out short-term archaeological excavation at the site of a burial ground from the Early Bronze Age, which was previously systematically researched by Jozef Bátora from the Archaeological Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences in Nitra in 1982-1989 and 2003. During these excavations 600 graves belonging to the Nitra and Únětice culture were examined.

The goal of excavation for the year 2014 was to excavate an area in Dezider Gerhát's garden, that has been inaccessible in the previous excavation campaigns due to an orchard being present. Regarding the high concentration of graves in the immediate vicinty of the neighboring area the expectations of further grave finds were eligible. Research has verified these expectations and resulted in the discovery of six inhumation graves, raising the number of burials documented on site to 606.

Among the discovered graves a female burial in extreme position is of a high interest. The lower limbs of the deceased were forcefully brought to the face. Furthermore, traces of intentional fracture were found on one lower and one upper limb. According to the anthropologist, these fractures happened before the death of the buried individual. The whole finding situation points to the burial of a dire woman considered highly dangerous for her community.

Another interesting grave belonged to a man buried with the remains of a stone arrowhead lodged in one of the pectoral vertebrae. Signs of inflammation and healing around the tip of the arrowhead suggest the man survived this injury.

Documentation of archaeological situations.
Preparing of a grave from the Early Bronze Age.
One part of the excavation team.

Rybník, district Levice

Site: Nad Hronom

Excavation leader: Jozef Bátora, Peter Tóth

Year of excavation: 2004-2018

Type of site: fortified settlement

Dating: Early Bronze Age

Excavation results: Excavation is being realized in a close collaboration between the Archaeological Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences in Nitra and the Department of Archaeology of Faculty of Arts, Comenius University in Bratislava (during 2004-2009 also in cooperation with Römisch-Germanische Komission des DAI in Frankfurt am Main).

The settlement is enclosed with a wood-and-earth rampart. Rocks from the vicinity were also implemented in the construction of the rampart.

Notable results were obtained by the excavation of dwellings alongside the northern course of rampart. In addition to the rich collection of ceramics, bone and antler tools, unique finds such as animal figurines (one with hinted yoke attachment), ceramic rattles, ceramic wagon wheels and especially a bone pin of Eastern European provenance have been acquired from the excavated dwellings.

The aforementioned animal figurines were deliberately damaged (broken limbs, horns, etc.) and it is possible to connect them to cultic rituals, where instead of live animals their clay substitutes were symbolically sacrificed. Cultic rituals were performed on various occasions, for example to ensure hunting achievements or successful livestock breeding (cattle, sheep/goats, pigs). It seems that all of the discovered statuettes were made by a single person, probably the local shaman, who conducted aforesaid rituals at the same time.

As evidence for the hunting prowess of the Early Bronze Age man serve massive remains of antlers, indicating capital specimens of deer. Remarkably wolf and bear can also be attested among the hunted animals.

The predominately agrarian nature of the settlement is supported by numerous finds of stone querns, made out of local andesite. Research has shown that the present day quarry on Kusá hora has also been used by the inhabitants of the investigated settlement. A significant portion of the unearthed archaeological material comprises chipped stone artifacts, mostly made of foreign raw materials. This serves as evidence for contacts between the settlement and regions both near (Žiarska kotlina, Biele Karpaty) and far (Zemplín-Tokaj range and Poland).

Ceramics, a distinctive part of the material culture, is represented mainly by ceramics of Maďarovce and Transdanubian Encrusted Pottery cultures. There have been however also finds of Otomani-Füzesabony cultural complex, which is known mainly from eastern parts of Slovakia and adjacent region of Hungary (Tisza basin).

The existing research proves that fortified settlement in Rybník presents an important strategic cultural and trading centre in the area of Slovak Gate. The location of the settlement is not random, because the strategic position predestined the settlement for control over communities bound for non-ferrous metal deposits situated in Central Slovakia.

Field work.
Measuring of archaeological finds with total station.
Photographic documentation of archaeological finds.

Santovka, part Malinovec, district Levice

Site: Travertínový lom III

Excavation leader: Jozef Bátora, Martin Bača

Year of excavation: 2006-2019

Type of site: fortified settlement

Dating: Early Bronze Age

Excavation results: The excavations are being carried out as a close collaboration between Archaeological Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences in Nitra and the Department of Archaeology of Faculty of Arts, Comenius University in Bratislava. Important results come from excavating the dwellings on the southern edge of the settlement. The dwelling have been partially recessed into the travertine bedrock to make the floor level. Besides rich collection of ceramic finds from the interiors of the houses, numerous bone and antler tools have been found. A clay casting mould for six-pointed star-shaped bronze pendants and a deer antler ferrule lavishly decorated with carved geometric designs represent some of the unique finds from the settlement.

Excavation has shown that besides archaeological material of the Maďarovce culture there is a strong presence of Transdanubian Encrusted Pottery culture, that penetrated into Ipeľ basin gradually from Transdanubia. In addition ceramics of the Otomani-Füzsabony cultural complex, main settlement area of which was situated in Eastern Slovakia and the adjacent region of Hungary (upper Tisza basin), was present.

Massive pieces of antler that must have belonged to capital specimens of deer suggest that the people of the Early Bronze Age living in the settlement in Santovka were successful huntsmen. Numerous findings of stone querns denote a predominately agrarian nature of the settlement. A significant portion of the unearthed archaeological material comprises chipped stone artifacts, mostly made of foreign raw materials. This serves as evidence for contacts between the settlement and regions both near (Žiarska kotlina, Biele Karpaty) and far (Zemplín-Tokaj range and Poland, Moravia and Bohemia).

The research confirmed that the fortified settlement from the Early Bronze Age in Santovka, situated on a travertine mound, served as an important interregional centre of religious life.

Preparing of archaeological situations.
Graphical documentation of archaeological situations.
Selection of archaeological finds from the site.

Vráble, district Nitra

Site: Fidvár

Excavation leader: Jozef Bátora, Knut Rassmann

Year of excavation: 2007-2018

Type of site: fortified settlement and burial ground

Dating: Early Bronze Age

Excavation results: Excavation is being realized by the Archaeological Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences in Nitra and Römisch-Germanische Komission des DAI in Frankfurt am Main. The Department of Archaeology of Faculty of Arts, Comenius University in Bratislava is a cooperating partner of the project.

The disposition of houses in several radial rows that has been discovered in Vráble has very close analogies both in Eastern Mediterranen and Eurasian area (Sintashta, Arkaim). It is important that the circular arrangement of the buildings is dated to the classical phase of the Únětice culture, which is contemporary with the circular arrangements known from the Sintashta culture in the Transural area of Russia and northern Kazakhstan. Thus this period of 2000-1750 BC precedes the Mycenaean culture of Eastern Mediterannean.

Fortified settlements in the North-Carpathian region were previously thought to be mainly connected with the late stage of Early Bronze Age cultures (such as Maďarovce or Otomani-Füzesabony cultures), contemporaneous with the Mycenaean culture. Therefore we can conclude, that the excavations of the Early Bronze Age fortified settlement in Vráble-Fidvár radically change the existing knowledge about the direction of cultural influences and contacts between the Central Europe and more distant cultural regions.

In the area of burial ground 20 inhumation graves have been examined so far, inside which burials of the Únětice culture (2000-1800 BC) - inhabitants of the Fidvár settlement - could be found. The deceased were buried according to the custom of their time, i.e. men lying contracted on their right side with head towards west and feet towards east, while women were positioned the other way round, contracted on the left side with E-W orientation. The face (sight) of both sexes was toward south, unto the sun. Besides ceramics (cups, amphorae, pots and bowls) the grave goods consisted of bronze wire jewellery (earrings, temple rings) and rarely even beads made of amber. The amber for these beads was an import from the Baltic sea coast to the north. In one case the deceased had large beef ribs put into the grave to serve as sustenance for his passing to the "other side".

A noteworthy fact is that all of the graves were secondarily disturbed and most of the skeletons were scattered. This occured on one hand as looting - the thieves being after the precious bronze goods and on the other hand for ritual reasons - members of the community being afraid of the dead returning from the graves.

Further information on the results of archaeological research of the Early Bronze Age fortified settlement in Vráble can be found at these links:

 

Unearthing the find situations.
Preparing of archaeological contexts.
The usage of industrial vacuum cleaner during the preparation of archaeological contexts.

Vráble, district Nitra

Site: Veľké Lehemby

Excavation leader: Jozef Bátora, Martin Furholt, Knut Rassmann

Year of excavation: 2010, 2012

Type of site: enclosed settlement

Dating: Neolithic

Excavation results: Excavation was realized by the Archaeological Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences in Nitra, the Römisch-Germanische Komission des DAI in Frankfurt am Main and the Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology at Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel. The Department of Archaeology of Faculty of Arts, Comenius University in Bratislava is a cooperating partner of the project.

In 2010 first probing excavation was carried out, aiming to examine the enclosure consisting of ditch and palisade. As a follow-up in 2012 systematic surveys and pedologic probes were conducted to determine the state of underground features. On the basis of these the excavation was aimed to confirm and research the parallel oblong structures detected by the geophysical measurements.

In the northern portion of the area two probe trenches measuring 5x20 metres were placed over the most prominent structures. Excavation has shown that anomalies represent construction pits lining the longer walls of a Neolithic longhouse. The recorded width of this longhouse was 6,8-7 metres. It was oriented NNE-SSW and consisted of five rows of postholes.

The obtained ceramic material enables the dating of the longhouse to the early phase of the Želiezovce group. Most of the vessels correspond to the vessels known from several other sites from the Neolithic in the river Žitava basin. Some potsherds bear decoration which points to cultural influences and contacts with contemporary cultures.

Field walking by raster method.
Documentation of a handheld pedological drilling core.
Field work in the area of a house from the Neolithic.